( dpa )- Asian markets plummeted up to 6 per cent in early trading Tuesday as fears gripped investors that the deteriorating US economy would hurt Asia's economies as well.
Major Asian stocks all nosedived in mid- morning trading Tuesday, with Taiwan's benchmark TAIEX taking the biggest plunge - 6.13 per cent.
By about 11:30 am (0330 GMT), TAIEX had dropped to 7,613.44, down 496.76 points, or 6.13 per cent.
Australian stocks fell 5.7 per cent in early trading Tuesday. Two hours after the opening bell, the All Ordinaries index had given up 306 points, or 5.7 per cent, to 5,324. The Australian market is down more than 20 per cent from its high point on November 1.
Other Asian markets followed the downward spiral - Hang Seng 5.23 per cent, Nikkei 4.41 per cent, Shanghai A-share 3.44 per cent, Kospi 3.38 per cent, Kuala Lumpur 3.33 per cent and Thai shares 1.63 per cent.
It is the first time Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average sunk below the 13,000 level since October 2005 when it stood at 12,738.31.
US stock markets were closed for the Martin Luther King Day, but Asian and European investors were carrying through from last week's concern on Wall Street that a fiscal stimulus proposed by President George W Bush would not be enough to stop the US economy from falling into recession.
Bush called for a package worth up to 150 billion US dollars in tax cuts and other measures, which analysts say is too little and too late.